PRIMATE FIELD RESEARCH ASSISTANT
The Lilongwe Wildlife Trust (LWT) was established in 2008 when their first project, The Lilongwe Wildlife Centre (LWC), opened as Malawi’s first wildlife rescue, rehabilitation, and education centre. Since then LWT has expanded their programs to include an extensive national environmental education program, a strong force in investigating and combating wildlife crime, and an expansion of their wildlife research program.
LWT’s Research Program has field-based projects in Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve (VMWR), Nyika National Park (NNP), as well as captive based studies at the LWC, focusing primarily on primates. Our recent projects include three primate projects; 1) primate and habitat assessment of VMWR; 2) samango monkey census and genetics study in NNP and other sites and 3) a primate reintroduction project in VMWR.
We are looking for someone to conduct the field research for LWT’s Samango Monkey Research Project. This project aims to clarify the genetic status and population distribution of Cercopithecus mitis in Malawi and make recommendations for conservation management. We will 1) confirm the number of subspecies in Malawi using molecular, morphometric, and pelage data, 2) determine their distribution in Malawi, 3) identify landscape characteristics that influence genetic structure and distribution, and 4) use these data to inform conservation status and management decisions globally and within Malawi. We will collect hair samples using non-invasive baited sticky-tape platforms for genetic analysis and conduct photographic surveys across different sites across Malawi. We will conduct transect surveys in forest habitats to collect density and distribution data as well as habitat quality and characteristics to assess predictors of abundance and occupancy in various sites across the country.
We are looking for a field research assistant who will conduct the fieldwork at different sites across Malawi, working with and reporting to the Research Manager, Mandy Harwood, and the Programmes Director, Dr Stuart Williams. This project began in 2018 and we completed one field season of data collection; we are looking to complete a second year. This person will be responsible for:
- Conduct field research including: primate transects on foot (conducting the census), monkey ID records (assessing age/sex classes, taking and organizing photographs), habitat surveys, and hair sample collection
- Responsible for ensuring data is accurately collected, input, and stored
- Some data analysis
- Creating GIS maps of the study area including digitizing sightings and habitats
Operations and Logistics
- Driving and manual 4×4 in the bush
- Responsible for maintenance of all project equipment (e.g. GPS, data sheets, batteries, etc).
- Responsible for organizing scouts or other site-specific logistics
Staff and People Management
- Working with our local senior field research assistant
- Training and supervising any volunteers and students (both local and international) that might work on the project
- Working closely and cooperatively with other team members representing the project and with partner organizations
Reporting and Budgeting
- Produce monthly project and logistics reports, newsletters, blogs, etc as required
- Be responsible with budgets and reporting
- Conduct all research activities effectively and efficiently to ensure that accepted standards of research and ethical behaviour are always met.
- Deliver other related duties as assigned by the Research Manager.
- Maintain compliance with all LWT policies and procedures, and the laws of Malawi.
Requirements Qualification and Experience
- BSc or higher in related field (biology, zoology, conservation, animal behaviour, etc)
- Experience working and living in remote environments, preferably in Africa
- Experience in field based research in remote environments
- Physically fit – able to walk for hours in unfavorable conditions (e.g. heat or rain)
- Good communication skills, for both international volunteers and students and local Malawian staff and DNPW scouts and park management
- Experience in data collection, organization, and analysis
- Experience with manual 4×4 bush driving and valid driving license
- Self-motivated, hard-working, flexible, and enthusiastic for the work; Positive mental attitude, ability to muck in and get on with it
- Able to work both independently and in a team, as well as live with others
- Must be willing to work on projects where there is an associated risk due to the remote nature of the work, but must never take unnecessary risks that may endanger their life or the lives of their fellow employees and partners and/or hinder project objectives
- Clean criminal record
- Experience in GIS, home range analysis and distance sampling analysis
- Long term experience of field research in Africa (>6 months)
- Post graduate degree in primatology, primate conservation, or related field
- Experience with vehicle maintenance
- Project management experience
- Publications in peer reviewed journals
- First aid trained
Terms of Position
Support: A monthly stipend of US$100, accommodation and all in-country project-related travel provided by LWT. Food, personal travel, international flights, visas, vaccinations and medical aid and insurance are not covered.
Term: April – September 2019. There is a possibility of the job extending, depending on funding.
Application Process and Deadline
Please send a CV and Letter of Interest to email@example.com. Please include the title of the position in the subject line of the email. Applications will be accepted until position is filled.